Thanks to a new merger deal, Harley-Davidson’s electric motorcycle company known as LiveWire will become the first publicly traded electric motorcycle company in the US.
The deal was formed between three companies: Harley-Davidson, the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) AEA-Bridges Impact Corp, and Taiwanese electric scooter giant KYMCO.
The deal will be financed with $400 million in cash held by AEA-Bridges Impact Corp, a $100 million investment from Harley-Davidson, and a $100 million investment from KYMCO through a private investment in public equity (PIPE) deal.
The new company’s stock is expected to become listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker LVW.
Harley-Davidson’s stock (HOG) is currently up around 10% in premarket trading after the news was announced this morning.
As Harley-Davidson’s chairman, president, and CEO Jochen Zeitz explained:
“Today’s announcement is a historic milestone with LiveWire set to become the first publicly traded EV motorcycle company in the U.S. By building on Harley-Davidson’s 118-year lineage, LiveWire’s mission is to be the most desirable electric motorcycle brand in the world, leading the electrification of the sport. This transaction will give LiveWire the freedom to fund new product development and accelerate its go-to-market model. LiveWire will be able to operate as an agile and innovative public company while benefitting from the at-scale manufacturing and distribution capabilities of its strategic partners, Harley-Davidson and KYMCO.”
Once the deal closes next year, Harley-Davidson will maintain a controlling share of 74% in the new company. ABIC’s shareholders will hold approximately 17%, and ABIC’s founders and KYMCO will hold approximately 4% each.
Harley-Davidson’s electric motorcycle project began within the company itself. The first model released was the Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle, which became the best-selling electric motorcycle in the country.
Despite the LiveWire being developed inside of Harley-Davidson, the decision was made to spin-off H-D’s electric ambitions under a new brand known simply as LiveWire.
That resulted in the shedding of the H-D branding and the rerelease of the LiveWire motorcycle as the LiveWire One with a much lower price.
The move followed a similar action by Harley-Davidson when it spun-off its own internal electric bicycle program into an e-bike startup known as Serial 1 last year.
SPAC mergers have proven to be a popular way for two-wheeled electric vehicle companies to fast-track themselves into the US stock market.
Gogoro announced it was following a similar path recently with a SPAC that will send it to the NASDAQ.
LiveWire’s claim to become the first publicly traded electric motorcycle company in the US may require a bit of an asterisk. While Gogoro’s 50+ mph (80+ km/h) electric two-wheelers are more often considered scooters than motorcycles, publicly traded Arcimoto’s three-wheeled Fun Utility Vehicles are technically motorcycles in a legal sense in most US states. However, Arcimoto goes out of its way to avoid referring to its vehicles as motorcycles, so the company isn’t likely to fight back too hard for that title.
Compared to conventional electric motorcycles like Zeros and Energicas, H-D’s LiveWire will certainly be the first on Wall Street.
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